It wasn’t easy. Acceptance never is. My children would grow up, marry. There would be grandchildren… And I wouldn’t be there. A small grandchild would have a part in the school Chanukah play. “Invite your grandmother, too,” her teacher would say. My little granddaughter’s face would cloud up,” She’s in heaven. She can’t come.” Continue reading He Was Only Young Boy
It’s hard to smile when you hurt. It’s hard to smile when you’re scared. It’s hard to smile when a monster named Cancer has taken over your life and nothing is the same as it used to be.
My friends are in school, all together, following a normal routine…feeling safe. And me, I’m lying on a hospital bed tense – scared that a lady in a white coat will come in again to do a painful IV and scared, very scared, about something that I cannot even say, can’t even let myself to think about. Continue reading Rx: Fun on Mt. Hermon
A cancer patient is in need of a transplant. A search takes place and a genetically matching donor is finally found. The donor, the hero of this saga, is then placed in the uncomfortable position of having to spend up to seven hours in a hospital setting as his blood is drawn and the stem cells are removed for the transplant. For years, Ezer Mizion had dreamed of changing that. This dream has now become a reality. Continue reading Israel’s First Stem Cell Harvesting Center Established Outside of a Hospital Opened by Ezer Mizion
No adoring Grandma and Grandpa took a turn to snip off a bit of his sweet, little curls. There was no hair to sweep up from the floor. No peyos (sidelocks) adorned his little face. But there was a yarmulke and tzitzis and there was joy. The family celebrated his upsherin (celebration of first haircut) , his first milestone, with joy, with hope and with prayer that there would be many more milestones to celebrate in the future. Continue reading Rx: Smiles
December 2018 – Bone Marrow Donor Registry
31 transplants, 23 from donor pools
3,033 total transplants
955,562 members in registry
Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands,
New Zealand, Poland, Turkey, UK, USA
Donor Pool Countries
Brazil, Israel, UK, USA
Donor Pool Name
Dec. 2018 Transplants
|Tzvi Menachem Bornstein||1||1|
|Y. H. Dimri||1||3|
|Elliott & Lynn Dolin||1||4|
|Judi & Maurice Falk||1||3|
|Gutwirth Fndn, Meir Mizrachi, Adv.||1||1|
|Mark & Feigi Marmurstein||1||9|
|Neeman & Shech Families||1||2|
|Mendel & Molly Pasternak||1||2|
|Protea Retirement Village||1||1|
|George & Pamela Rohr||3||58|
|Shaul & Esther Shammay||1||4|
DIVISION OF CANCER SUPPORT. What does it mean? What does it mean to support a victim of cancer? Some answers are obvious. Helping out with the kids, providing meals, transportation, offering therapy to patient and members of the family that are finding it difficult to cope – all these will certainly be included. And then there’s the not so obvious. Continue reading What Does it Mean?
He was ten years old. Every child knows that after ten comes eleven. It is as certain as night following day. For a small number of children, though, it may not be. These children, too mature to have the devastating information hidden from them, yet oh so young, oh so pure …these holy souls … have risen to levels unimaginable to their peers.
The cancer had almost paralyzed him. His breathing was weak and oxygen was necessary to keep him alive. He lay there, more soul than body. But what a soul! This young child, whose thoughts should be on collecting stamps and his latest chol hamoed trip, had one wish: to daven (pray) at the kotel in order to come closer to the Creator of the world, perhaps for his last time as a human being of flesh and blood. Continue reading A Soul Comes Home
What happens when the pillar holding up the structure begins to wobble? And the walls that had lost their prop fall to the floor? The building that had appeared to be solid now topples, breaking into smithereens.
The Berger* family was such a structure. Mr. Berger was the strong parent whom everyone leaned upon. His wife was his helpmate, relying on him to make decisions, small and large. Emotionally, she was not capable of playing the leader and that was just fine as long as the status quo remained. But then cancer entered the family structure and Mr. Berger was no longer able to offer his strength. His condition was grave and, without the pillar that she depended on all of her married life, his wife could no longer lead the family.
A sick husband, a traumatized wife, bewildered children were left to each fend for himself with no support at a time when it was so desperately needed. But not for long. Ezer Mizion was notified of the situation and they took charge. Various departments were brought onto the scene to provide for both practical and emotional needs. Rides to the hospital, hot meals, someone to do homework with the kids, someone to hold the house together, fun days for the kids, retreats for the whole family to raise their spirits, professional therapy for each member of the family and so much more.
Ezer Mizion became the new temporary pillar with its staff of caring people whose only goal was to ease the plight of a Jewish family in trouble. Heavily involved in the details of their life, it was only natural that they soon heard about Malky* who was soon to be twelve. No Bas Mitzvah plans were in the offing. Who had emotional energy to even think of such things? But Ezer Mizion staff did. They pictured the smiles. They pictured the family togetherness. Both so rare these days. And they got to work.
Ezer Mizion cannot cure the patient but, with the help of all of you, our supporters around the world, we can be there for them when it hurts.
We speak of it as being a ‘battle with cancer’. Like all battles, it requires an army, each division with its special task, each soldier with a mission to which he devotes his heart and soul. Each ‘soldier’s very being becomes linked to those he helps. Help comes in many different forms. Therapy, living quarters near the clinic, meals, rides. The list goes on and on. This is no 9-5 job where work-related info disappears from the employee or volunteer’s radar as he exits the office.
Shopping for his family at the supermarket, Avi, an Ezer Mizion Linked to Life volunteer, spots a candy bar that little Yossi likes and, with an unmanly sob, he adds it to his cart. (Yossi’s Mommy used to buy him that candy every Sabbath but now Yossi’s Mommy is …) His phone rings and the shopping cart gets shoved into a corner. The store manager will understand. It’s happened before. His wife will surely understand. She had been tearfully praying when he left the house. It’s Moshe. He needs a ride to the hospital. Now. They just called. His wife has only hours to live. He knew it was coming but when it does…oh, it’s so hard. He will be needed for much more than the ride. He and his fellow Linked 2 Life members had supported the family in so many ways for months. “Hashem, give him strength,” he fervently prays as he rushes to his car.
Many weeks are filled with joy like when a child wins his battle with leukemia and L2L members drive the family and accumulated paraphernalia home from the hospital. Soon the child will join his friends in their games, a boy like any other boy. A celebratory parade as they enter the home, each one carrying packages, almost dancing up the stairs. Or when we’re invited to a bris by a young father who had been afraid his baby would be named after him. He’s cured now. The nightmare is over.
Other weeks are not so. Like this past one. Ora died this week. She had been part of the lives of so many Linked to Life volunteers in Rechasim and Haifa. Her conversation was never about her pain, her anguish. It was only about how grateful she was to each person for everything done for her family.
“Mere words cannot express my thanks to you for all your help and support. Hashem, in His great compassion and immeasurable love sent me such special agents as yourselves. I bless you all from the bottom of my heart that Hashem should repay you in kind, grant you health, happiness, and success in all your endeavors and nachat from the children. May good and kindness pursue you your entire lives.”
These words were written to Ezer Mizion just a few months ago by Ora a”h.
We rallied. We tried to smooth the way for them, do the little extras to bring some sunshine into their numbered days together. The medical staff fought hard. We fought hard to keep up their spirits. And we lost. Ora is gone. Ezer Mizion will be there for the family, with the practical, with the emotional as long as we’re needed. We’ll be their cushion, their pillar.
It was a hard week. There was a family at Ezer Mizion’s Summer Camp whose mother spent the time in bed on pain killers, under the supervision of medical staff, coming out for meals and some low-key activities. How gratifying to have been the catalyst for fortifying the family as they shared an enjoyable time together… their last. A day before camp ended, the mother was hospitalized. The children stayed on to finish camp. Ezer Mizion was with the children when they were told the bitter news of their mother’s demise. The younger ones hugged each other in a bundle of grief and said: “Ezer Mizion will help Abba and us. They never leave us to be alone!”
It was a hard week. A single mother of young children. Another young mother. And a sixteen year old boy with a brain tumor. Four young mothers and one young boy in one week.
Hashem, please give all of us at Ezer Mizion strength to be their strength. And Hashem, please hold them tight in Your embrace. Hug them. Comfort them. And wipe away all their tears.
They have so much to offer. So much to give to a relationship. Yet people shy away from the marriage. Fearful of the unknown. Continue reading Strike A Match